Doctor denies genital mutilation; judge keeps her locked up


"She knew that this was illegal but did it anyway", Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Woodward said in court, claiming there's also a risk of Nagarwala and others pressuring others in their religious community not to talk to authorities about this "incredibly secretive" procedure.

A judge ordered Nagarwala to jail without bond, saying she's a threat to the public.

In 2006, a court in Georgia found a man guilty of sexually mutilating his two-year-old daughter with a pair of scissors, in what was then the first recorded case of female genital mutilation in the United States.

Nagarwala is charged with female genital mutilation, a five-year felony, lying to federal investigators and transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, a felony punishable by 10 years to life, according to a complaint unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

"This is going to be a complex" case, Smith said.

There's already widespread agreement that immigrants should be screened before they're allowed into the United States, says Bauer.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44, is accused of performing the procedures at a Livonia medical clinic.

The parents could face charges of child neglect, child abuse, and transporting their children across state lines for the goal of criminal sexual activity. The girls were brought to Metro Detroit by their families for the controversial procedure, prosecutors said. They were told they were taking a "special girls' trip", or needed to make the long journey to see a doctor because their tummies hurt, according to the complaint.

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The procedure is believed to initiate girls into adulthood and ensure their marriageability, according to Human Rights Watch, a NY nonprofit human rights organization.

Nagarwala has been placed on leave at Henry Ford Hospital, where she was an emergency room doctor, hospital spokesman David Olejarz said in a statement.

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security, who worked together on the case, said they have identified multiple other incidents where young girls have been victims of FGM allegedly performed by Nagarwala between 2005 and 2007, according to the criminal complaint. According to a criminal complaint, some of the minor victims traveled from other states to have Nagarwala perform the procedure - which typically involves the surgical removal of a female's clitoris or labia, sometimes for religious or cultural reasons. The practice is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and a year ago UNICEF estimated that 200 million women alive today in 30 countries - 27 African nations, Indonesia, Iraqi Kurdistan and Yemen - have undergone the procedure.

This type of sexual abuse of young women has been a problem in the United States for decades, and is prevalent in the Muslim community.

In Australia past year, the Dawoodi Bohra community was at the center of a landmark female genital mutilation there as three people were each sentenced to 15 months prison for carrying out the procedure on two girls. That preference is described at the website for Equality Now, which the New York Times describe as "an worldwide women's rights advocacy organization". They have set up a tip line for anyone who has any information pertaining to the illegal practices of FGM or Nagarwala. As many sociologists explained, this procedure might be understood as the society's attempt to control aspects related to childbirth and women sexuality.

The World Health Organization said the practice of removing or injuring female genital organs has no known health benefits.

Congress passed a law in 1996 making it illegal to perform genital mutilation or cutting in the United States on anyone under 18 years.